MJ Fox joined George Stephanopoulos today in an important interview and answered questions about his illness, Limbaugh, Bush's veto on embryonic stem cell research and why stem cell research is so important to him. This is a heartbreaking interview because when a person battles an illness---we have good days and bad days---good hours and bad hours---good minutes and bad minutes. It doesn't matter what political persuasion you are--we all watch our loved ones battle diseases and relate to the horrors that they cause. MJ Fox in the middle of the interview has a moment of some peace and it's quite telling. Limbaugh's disgusting attack on him tells you all about Rush's motives and his cold hearted behavior. It's not surprising that he declined to be interviewed. FOX: What is crueler, to not have hope or to have hope? And it's not false hope. It's a very informed hope...
Hope is now off limits to the compassionate conservatives that support Rush Limbaugh. What's next?
Transcript and more via ABC
FOX: I'm just about to hit a pocket. This is good.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But after a short break, his medication kicked in. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) You were just saying you're about to hit a pocket.
FOX: Yeah, I just hit a nice pocket. It should be calm for a sec.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Good. Well...
FOX: It's kind of like surfing, you know, you wait for the wave,
and I just hit a nice wave, I think.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I don't want to rile you up, but I am
going to bring up Rush Limbaugh only one more time.
FOX: Let it go!
STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the things he says is that when you're
talking about all these cures, you're giving people false hope.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: When you start telling them that there's a cure right
around the corner, if only somebody gets elected, you are misleading
them. You are creating a false hope scenario. And that is cruel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOX: What is crueler, to not have hope or to have hope? And
it's not false hope. It's a very informed hope.
FOX: I mean, it's hope that's informed by the opinion of our
leading scientists, almost to the point of unanimity that embryonic
stem cells, because they're pluripotent, because they have the
capacity to be anything, are truly -- you know, will it be a straight
path to victory? Probably not. Probably, you'll have stutter steps
along the way.
In fact, they just did some work where they found that it
actually relieved the symptoms of Parkinson's in one test, but there
was some residue, some tissue residue that built up, which is not
But two steps forward, one step forward -- you know, it's the
process. It's how this country was built. It's what we do.
I don't want to get too corny about it, but isn't that what that
person in harbor with the thing is about, hope?
And so to characterize hope as some kind of malady or some kind
of flaw of character or national weakness is, to me, really counter to
what this country is about.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We first talked about this five years ago. And
we did talk about the enormous promise.
In looking back five years later, some scientists do say, that
it's been a disappointment.
FOX: Well, it's been a disappointment, too, in that they haven't
had a full deck to deal from.
I mean, we talked in 2001 and there was talk of 60 lines. And
even that was -- well, 60 lines out of potentially thousands of lines.
We've been limited to 60.
And I remember saying, it's going to be less than that. And it
turned out to be a lot less than that.
And then those lines turned out to be quite polluted, in some
cases, with mouse feeder cells. And also now -- now, it's like trying
to get a good picture out of a videotape that's been recorded on over
the course of 10 years.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Supporters of President Bush say: Wait a
second, he's the first president ever to have any funding.
FOX: He's the first one who had an opportunity to. I mean, this
technology didn't -- he came in with it. It didn't precede him. No
one had an opportunity before him.
So I don't want to characterize the president's motives or
ambitions or thought process, but the outcome is obvious. It hasn't
been supported. It's been limited.
I mean, the very fact that the stem cell lines -- we started out
with limitations; not guidelines, limitations.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And your goal, now, is to go out and elect
candidates who will help override the president's veto?
FOX: Of any stripe. You know, that's the other notion that was
put out there, was that I somehow was recruited by the Democratic
STEPHANOPOULOS: "Democratic shill," I think was the word.
FOX: Democratic shill, yes. I'm going to look up shill in the
dictionary. I think it has something to do with supporting someone
whose beliefs you don't believe in for ulterior reason or something.
But, yeah, no, I'm not a shill for the Democratic Party. I
approached them. I sat down to find out what candidates are pro-stem
cell in races where they're opposed by anti-stem cell candidates. And
I had no predisposition toward Democrats or Republicans. It'd be fine
with me either way.
In fact, a Republican candidate who's pro-stem cell would be
someone I'd really like to talk to. And in fact, in the past I've
supported and done commercials for Arlen Specter, who is a very
aggressive pro-stem cell champion. And I know that there are others,
you know. There are people like Orrin Hatch and Danforth.
STEPHANOPOULOS: In your book, "Lucky Man," you really are
unsparing in your description of the horrors of this disease. But you
also make it seem almost like a gift. Do you still feel that way?
FOX: Well, that's unique to me. I've been so incredibly blessed
in my life, so lucky, so gifted with amazing things: my family and my
wife; my career; the things I've seen; the people that I've met.
And I found myself in this unique position of, although I'm
facing this and I'm dealing with it, and although it's not what one
would pick out of a catalogue, it does provide me an opportunity to
make a difference and to do positive things. And for that I have to
be grateful and humbled by that circumstance.
And there are so many others that are in this position that don't
have what I have, that are saddled with the possibility of losing
their insurance and not being able to get insurance, or trying to hide
Talk about hiding -- the notion -- this is what struck a nerve.
The notion of hiding symptoms is so key to what patients of all kinds
of conditions, but particularly Parkinson's -- it's the biggest thing
we face, is hiding. We have to hide.
Don't let anybody see. Don't let them think you're drunk. Don't
let them think you're incapable. Don't let them think you're
unstable; you're unsteady; you're flawed; you're devalued. Don't let
them see that. Mask it. Hide it. Cover it up.
FOX: You know, it's amazing to -- I can't stress enough. I
don't want to react personally to these attacks. It's pointless.
It's like getting in a fight with a bully. What's the point?
You're not going to change his mind. You're just probably going to
get a nosebleed. So, you know, why bother?
But make no mistake, it hurts. And it hurt when -- it hurt -- it
hurt to see the president use the one veto of his administration to
strike down this legislation.
It was passed through both the houses of the Congress. It had a
lot of very -- people of very serious conscience proud about it and in
their duty as representatives voted for. And to see the president --
STEPHANOPOULOS: He's got a little over two more years. Do you
think there's anything you can say or do to change his mind?
FOX: Well, we're doing it. This is what we're doing. We're
trying to elect representatives of either stripe, or either party, who
will go in there and get us a veto-proof margin. Let's get on with
this. It's what the people want. It's what the people deserve.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you're campaigning next week.
FOX: Yeah, I'll be out there.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You should know that we invited Rush Limbaugh to
appear on "This Week," and offered to go to him for the interview, but
Darksyde has more:
What ever irrelevent side issue the GOP is creating out of thin air today, I can safely predict for most of you reading this, regardless if you're a republican, democrat, independent, or apolitical: During your life, someone you know and love deeply, a parent, a sibling, a child, a friend, a spouse -- there's a good chance it will be you -- is going to die a long, lingering, dehumanizing, painful death from a disease or injury that Embryonic Stem Cell Research holds great promise to treat. In fact, most of us will have to witness this several times, before it's our turn...read on